Scripps Ranch and Bankers Hill Therapist Sara Cole.
There is nothing like spending the day with a happy, energetic, funny and creative two year old to make you remember to stop and enjoy the small moments in the day. I often remind myself to stop and take a breath and look in her little eyes or just take a mental snap shot of this moment. It's so easy to get caught up in hurrying to do all the tasks of the day and miss the irreplaceable moments that we will miss so much once they have passed. I guess this is mindfulness as a mommy. How else can we be in the moment as a parent?
I wanted to have a baby for a very long time and when I finally found out I was pregnant I was so so excited. I prepared in every way I could think of. I took classes, I read books, we hired a doula. I was confident because I had studied developmental psychology and had worked with kids doing therapy for years. I wasn't totally delusional because I knew it would change things and there would be lots that I would not expect or I could not predict.
No one warns you that you may feel like you have lost your mind or that you may feel so many other ways after your baby, who you have dreamed of and wished for, is finally born. As a new mom I felt like I should be super woman and happy, but instead I felt sad and so anxious and overwhelmed. I felt guilty that that I felt like this. And then sleep deprivation started to effect me and it got even worse. What if I could not be a good mom? What if she would be better off without me? What if I never felt any better? What if I was going to be terrified to be alone with her forever?
I was supposed to be an expert . I was used to being a high achiever and I felt like I was just barely making it. I tried to talk to other moms, but they had not experienced PPD/PPA and so they just said "it will be okay" or "you are fine". The doctor said I had "baby blues" but this felt worse than something so innocent sounding.
After a few weeks I was finally convinced that going to a support group might help me. So I tried it. To my disbelief, there were other women feeling like me and some of them even worse. We could be really honest about what was going on and it was such a relief . The group leader had recovered from Postpartum depression and was so supportive and understanding. These women and this group got me through those really tough days. They are some of my very best friends still two years later. I am so glad because now I can enjoy my sweet baby girl and enjoy life.
I am so excited to use this experience as I support new moms in their struggle through those first dark days. Our group leader always called it being in the trenches. I you are in the trenches right now, know that you are not alone. I know it doesn't feel like it, but you really will start feeling better. Get the help you need so that you can be the best mom you can be and enjoy the process.
Sara Cole has been providing mental health services in San Diego for 15 years. Sara specializes in working with women and teen girls to overcome trauma and major life changes, including postpartum depression and anxiety. She is also passionate about providing treatment to those whose lives are affected by the addiction of a loved one.